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Did You Hear a Message on Labor and Economic Justice at Mass this Sunday?

August 30, 2008

As it has for many years now, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued a Labor Day statement calling for action on economic justice, the dignity of labor and worker’s rights.

Did your priest preach on the dignity of labor, workers rights or economic justice? Were these themes at least articulated during the prayers of the faithful? As usual, the liturgy at my church this Sunday did nothing to mark Labor Day, and I will be politely expressing my disappointment to our priest. If the same is true at your church, consider letting them know that you were disappointed. Our church leaders must make vital matters of justice central to our worship. The Bishops Labor Day message, backed by more than a century of Catholic Social Teaching, makes it clear economic justice and workers rights are not optional matters, but are central to who we are as Catholics.

When justice is ignored during the liturgy, I think of the words of Amos, warning Israel that God will punish them for oppressing the poor despite their piety:

21″I hate, I (A)reject your festivals,
Nor do I (B)delight in your solemn assemblies.
22″Even though you (C)offer up to Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings,
I will not accept them;
And I will not even look at the (D)peace offerings of your fatlings.
23″Take away from Me the noise of your songs;
I will not even listen to the sound of your harps.
24″But let (E)justice roll down like waters
And righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

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